Bachelor Buttons Matted Within a Sky Blue Frame

January calls for lovely images of summer. This second hand store find features one of my favorite flowers, bordered with pale blue resembling a fair summer sky.

Before I know it, I will be on my back in the grass, gazing at eye level blossoms like these. Something to focus upon, to quell anxious moments when weather forecasts include snow and ice.

Here’s how to grow these flowers next summer if you’re interested. Here’s one version of how to paint them – but I created prettier ones, if I do say so myself, a few years ago when I copied a printed design from a vintage plate.

This post includes some interesting theories regarding how bachelor’s buttons, also known as cornflowers, got their name(s).

Whether Lake Blue or Ice Blue – It’s Winter’s Most Common Hue

The photo above and the next two were taken at Lake Erie on a relatively balmy winter day, early last week. What a difference a few days make.

The ones which follow were snapped at the end of the week, following a winter storm that dropped a few inches of snow and coated the branch tips with a glittering glaze of ice.

This week’s photos reminded me of the prominence of the colors of gray and blue in the cold season landscape. We all miss the azure sky of summer, but other subtle blue colors can be just as attractive if we learn to appreciate the many shades and formations of winter clouds and the varied qualities of water.

Lake Erie on a warm winter day . . . 

Same site, with a subtle light change . . .

Sparkling treetops after the ice storm . . .

A closer look . . .


Of Blue Willow China and a Vintage Eatery

My parents possessed a pair of tea cups in the blue willow pattern when I was a child. I always loved the bright cobalt and white design, understood it was a respected, traditional pattern.

I can’t believe I’d was never told of the design’s origin. I hadn’t heard any of the number of variations to the tale, which includes several whimsical verses.

My search for such today, took me to several interesting sites, sites, my favorite being that of the International Willow Collectors, where these versions are listed.

Basically, the story takes us to China, long ago, and to a pair of lovers, forbidden to wed. The fair lady was betrothed to a selected groom, an arranged marriage. It seems the bride managed to escape with her chosen lover, but later the couple tragically met with death by fire during an attack by those who had forbidden their betrothal.

They flew from the ashes, not as phoenixes but as doves, and will forever soar together across willow ware plates and mugs.

Well, I admit to taking a few liberties with the wording, but I believe I’ve captured the essence of the legend.

There used to be a restaurant in a quaint little town nearby, christened The Blue Willow in honor of this lovely patterned china. Efficiently operated by a sweet lady, Mary Lou. I’m sure she knows the legend well, and related it, in her day, much better than I, to the loyal customers who enjoyed her carefully crafted meals, begged for the recipes to enjoy at their own homes and culinary businesses.

Do any readers have a set of blue willow? Had you heard the tale of it’s origin previously?

Fun Thrift Shop Find – Bunny in Blue

Not really a fine art piece, but a treat for those seeking springtime whimsy . . . Wish I’d noticed the birdhouse beside it! One can always use another wren box – the little male birds love to prepare every available home, letting their mates choose a favorite.

Spring Luncheon Inspiration – Blue Willow and Lipstick Pink Pastel Tulips

Spring is a bit slow to bloom in our area this year but I’m loving the graceful lipstick pink and almost pastel green tulips on the cover of my favorite catalog (The Vermont Country Store).

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to sit at this table, set with classic blue willow china, savoring a light herbal tea or a bracing British variety as the sun shines in through a window overlooking an emerging garden?

We don’t take enough time for such simple, seasonal pleasures.

Blue Christmas

I do love the color blue for Christmas, in additional to the traditional red and green.

These bulbs remind me a bit of a silver one with a similar design that was one of my favorites as a child. It also had the words Silent Night imprinted upon it. Alas, after too many after Christmas dustings it became quite faded, but still, I sometimes wish I’d kept it.

I spotted these in a local discount store.